This is the premiere recording release of The Atlanta Symphony under the baton of their new Music Director, Yoel Levi, who was formerly Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra.
The three Copland classics on this disc–Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring and Rodeo–are all ballet scores, and from the very first bars of Billy, with its evocative depiction of the wide-open prairies, you are firmly in the territory of music that tells a story. But you don't need to follow all the ins and outs of each story to enjoy music which paints as vivid a picture of rural America as you could hope for. If the sprightly "Hoe Down" from Rodeo brings a splash of colour to concert programmes, the remarkable thing about so much of the music in these three pieces is how quietly sensitive it is. And while Michael Tilson Thomas does not hold back in wringing every last ounce of splashy razzmatazz, he is equally the master of introspective music which clearly demonstrates that you don't need to be loud to be a populist. The recordings were made in the San Francisco Symphony's home, Davies Symphony Hall. You couldn't hope for more authentic performances than this–more than 76 minutes of dyed-in-the-wool Americana.
This disc introduces Yo-Yo Ma's latest and most ambitious adventure, the Silk Road Project. It explores the cultures that flourished along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that for centuries connected Europe and the East. Founded by Ma in 1998, the project aims to create connections, mutual trust, and cultural interchange between people from different parts of the world through their only shared language: music. This recording includes music from Mongolia, China, Persia, Japan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and an improvisation on an Italian Renaissance street song, performed by musicians from all those countries, as well as America, on both Eastern and Western instruments. Ma, who participates in every piece either as soloist or part of the ensemble, plays cello and a Mongolian "horse-head fiddle." There is also a Mongolian soprano, who sings a traditional song native to her region.
If Wishbone Ash can be considered a group who dabbled in the main strains of early-'70s British rock without ever settling on one (were they a prog rock outfit like Yes, a space rock unit like Pink Floyd, a heavy metal ensemble like Led Zeppelin, or just a boogie band like Ten Years After?), the confusion compounded by their relative facelessness and the generic nature of their compositions, Argus, their third album, was the one on which they looked like they finally were going to forge their own unique amalgamation of all those styles into a sound of their own…
The Police were back in 1983 with Synchronicity, which hit No. 1 everywhere and remained on top a phenomenal 17 weeks in the U.S. The gold, Grammy-winning "Every Breath You Take" was No. 1 for eight weeks. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" was Top 10 and both "King Of Pain" and "Synchronicity II" became Top 20 hits. The quadruple platinum album took home a Grammy as well. "I do my best work when I'm in pain and turmoil," Sting told Rolling Stone. And indeed, the dissolution of his first marriage produced some of his best work yet, including "King of Pain" and the stalker's anthem "Every Breath You Take." There was pain and turmoil in the band, too — it would be the Police's last album."
Blind Faith was cursed at its very inception by being billed as a supergroup. This was truly a pity, because for all the classic beauty of its only recording, Blind Faith was a band that never had a legitimate opportunity to come together as a performing ensemble. Hyped to the hilt and rushed into a massive, chaotic tour, the band fell apart after its final American concerts when Eric Clapton packed it in to join Delaney & Bonnie's band. Despite the hurried and mysterious nature of the recording of the album Blind Faith, it produced two classic hits "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Presence of the Lord".